Richard Armitage shares “The Stranger” bts filming 2019 photos, June 15, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1240)

Love these photos of behind the scenes filming “The Stranger” in 2019 that the talented British actor Richard Armitage shared on Instagram and Twitter, respectively.  It looks like a very warm and friendly set–with breath taking views!

Love this glimpse into Richard’s professional life. He seems to be supremely happy and content. May he ever be so.

And may I also say that I love his slightly longer hair!  Sighhh!

Thanks to TeresaA for sharing these photos on Facebook!



Posted in "The Stranger" filming in 2019, Creativity, Gratiana Lovelace, happiness, movies, RASelfie, Richard Armitage, Sexy SatuRdAy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 23:  An unexpected development,  June 03, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1239)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 23:  An unexpected development,  June 03, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1239)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

 [As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of importance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage) and his wife Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex; Lord Harold Blount (portrayed by Crispin Bonham-Carter); Lady Penelope Blount (portrayed by Lily Travers); Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (portrayed by Maggie Smith); Lady Horatia Winston, Lady Penelope’s grandmother, and sister to Lady Knott]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays or Mondays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

Ch. 23:  An unexpected development

With Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre–residing as a guest up at the Sussex Hall Manor home that is being rented form the Sussex’s by the Lindsay’s of York—planning to supervise his niece Lady Tamsin Lindsay touring the village market faire after breakfast, along with the help of her paternal aunt Lady Gwendolyn of York, the lovebirds Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten  and his wife Lady Constance Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten may continue their loving reunion uninterrupted.

But that is not to say that all spousal couples on the Sussex Hall Estate will find their morning  a care free or romantic  idyll.

After a loving and passionate night with his young wife Lady Madeline, Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex awakens abruptly. And he  sits bolt upright in bed at his country Sussex Hall Dower House this next day morning—after last night’s momentous revelations about Vicar Whitby being Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten—with a foreboding feeling.

Lord Christian:  Rubbing his stubbled jaw, he mutters to himself.  “Get a hold of yourself, old man.”  But the hairs on the back of his neck prickle, as a warning of sorts.  And he has only ever felt this level of unease when …

Lady Madeline:  “Hhhhh!”  Lady Madeline yawns and stretches her arms above her head, with her being awakened by her husband’s movement from their cuddling position and then his mumblings.  Her movement in their bed focuses Lord Christian’s  attention upon her.

Lord Christian:  “I am so sorry, Madeline Darling.  I did not mean to wake you from your rest.”  He smiles warmly at her, trying not to convey his distracted thoughts at the moment, as he rises from their bed.

Lady Madeline: “Oh no?”  He shakes his head.  “Well, tis true that neither of us slept much last night.”  She smiles blushingly and gazes at her smoulderingly handsome and virile husband standing before her handsomely bare chested, and generally unattired.

Lord Christian:  “Khh!  Yesss.”  He smoulders, remembering that he loved her well. They both tremble in remembrance.  And this morning, Lady Madeline’s pregnancy sickness seems to have abated, most happily so.

Lady Madeline: “Husband?  Were I to splash some water upon my face—and you were to shave away your stubble …?”  Lord Christian raises a saucy eyebrow at her.  “Well, your morning facial hair is so rough that it scratches my face when we kiss—causing red patches there, and … elsewhere.” She pouts so cutely that Lord Christian cannot help but smile.

Lord Christian: “Indeed?  And you wish me to shave this early morn … to protect your skin?”  He smiles saucily at her.

Lady Madeline:  “Well that, and also such that no one else can guess … that we have been kissing.”  She finishes primly and lowers her eyes from her husband’s gaze.  She is a young bride of only a few months, carrying their first child, and yet she is still shy about the passionate nature of her marital relationship being inadvertently revealed to others.  Their loving bond is a private joy.

Lord Christian: “I will be happy to accede to your request, My Love.” The deep timbre of his baritone voice washes over her like a velvet caress.

Lady Madeline: “Thank you.”  Then holding the bedsheet to her breasts for modesty’s sake, Lady Madeline  looks around for her nightgown to put back on before leaving her bed to visit her bathing chamber to freshen up. She will not leave her bed with only a pillow to cover herself with.

Lord Christian: “Looking for this?”  He dangles her silk and lace nightgown that he had earlier tossed to a bedside chair, after he had removed it from her last night.

Lady Madeline: “Yes, Thank you.”  She reaches for the garment and he lowers it to her politely.  Her husband is kind and does not tease her too much.  After turning her bare back to her husband and donning her nightgown again, she peeks over her shoulder.  “Oh!  What caused you to awaken, anyway, Christian Dearest?”

Lord Christian: “I am not for certain.  But I have a sense that today will be … unexpected.”  And he scowls in uncertainty for the unknown yet to unfold.

Lady Madeline:  “Now now.  Not everything that is unexpected is bad.”  Her eyes sparkle with mischief as she teases him.  “Consider how we met when you bashed into me at my first ball and caused me to drop the ices that I was carrying for Grandmama and I.”

Lord Christian: “Hmmm.  Well … That was a happy misadventure, to be sure.  I just worry …”

Lady Madeline:  “Christian Dearest, you worry too much—about my with child state, your sister Lady Elizabeth’s upcoming betrothal to Lord Duncan, and your brother Lord Harold’s dashing off to rescue his lady love.”

Lord Christian: “Hmm!”  He groans this time. “Yet with Harold, I have good reason to worry.” He nods.

Lady Madeline: “Indeed.  But until he presents himself to us again, let us focus upon ourselves—and maybe Lady Elizabeth.”  She nibbles her lower lip, hoping that all will work out.

Lord Christian: “You are right, My Love.  Now let me shave my morning beard, and you splash water upon your face.  Then we can return to bed to cuddle, and such.”  Lord Christian almost purrs his suggestion to her.  He is a most devoted husband to her.

And whilst his Grandmother Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex and others still sleep soundly in the Dower House, Lord Christian and Lady Madeline do not, sleep, that is.


Having organized the old ladies of Winston and Knott, he and Lady Penelope and their various attendants this morn–and they only delayed their departure from London to travel to Sussex by a half hour to 6 o’clock–Lord Harold Blount feels quite pleased with himself for getting their caravan of three carriages and two wagons loaded with clothing and possessions on their way.

With his lovely and with child wife Lady Penelope enveloped in his arms as she dozes lying against his shoulder this very early morn, he feels confident that they are well on their way to beginning their married life anew. They just have to solemnize their French nuptials by having a new wedding ceremony in England—preferably at his family’s county seat in Sussex.

And after traveling a few hours, they should have just one more stop at an inn to allow their horses to rest and them to stretch their legs.  With his own grandmother Lady Catherine being too infirm to go out much—thus making her easier to care for—Lord Harold had not appreciated the complexity of catering to the needs of the two old ladies.

Let alone Lord Harold caring for his wife Lady Penelope being with child and her experiencing sickness, usually in the mornings—that is further exacerbated by their somewhat bouncy traveling by carriage on roads that are not the smoothest.  But she is dozing now, a blessing to her and to him.  And Lord Harold finds that these new responsibilities—especially for her, his beloved wife—not to be a burden at all.

So it is not until two  hours later as the sun rises higher in the sky that the travelers from London  finally reach the Blount family country seat of the Sussex Hall estates—and the Sussex Hall Dower House.  Since he had not had time to send a note to his brother Lord Christian about their arrival, Lord Harold is not certain whom among his family will be there to greet them.

And so, Lord Harold lifts his still feeling faint and nauseous wife Lady Penelope Blount out of their carriage and he carries her into the Sussex Hall Dower House as their butler Prinn holds the door open for them.  Another old family retainer, Prinn is skilled at his job, but also remembers the current lords and their younger sister Lady Elizabeth as young children.

Prinn: “Master Harold!  You have returned.”  Noticing the pale lady in Lord Harold’s arms, Prinn asks with his inevitable sangfroid.  “Should I send a footman for the doctor for her Ladyship, My Lord?”

Lord Harold: “No.  But tea with crushed ginger and sugar in it, and some lightly buttered toast brought to my and Lady Blount’s bed chamber would be helpful for my wife, in her delicate condition.”  Lord Harold nods at his longtime servant with a smile, then proceeds to carry his wife up to their bed chamber.

That their butler Prinn did not blink or flinch with Lord Harold’s announcement of him being married is entirely due to the longtime staff having come to expect the unexpected from Lord Harold.  Yet now, the unexpected has taken a most happy turn with Lord Harold finally being married—and soon to be a father.

Prinn: “As you wish, My Lord.”

Then the elderly Lady Knott and Lady Winston slowly enter the Sussex Hall Dower House foyer and take his attention with their needs.  So Prinn motions to a footman to attend to Lord Harold’s request, then he motions to another footman to join him to see to the older ladies and their needs for bed chambers and cosseting.


Hearing the commotion down the hall in the Sussex Hall Dower House from where she is breakfasting late around 11 o’clock in the morning with her hoped for betrothed Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York, Lady Elizabeth Blount rises from her unfinished plate of eggs and toast and motions for Lord Duncan to follow her.  He clasps her hand to slow her approach, lest anyone take issue with him breakfasting with Lady Elizabeth, when he and his family are renting Sussex Hall Manor from the Sussex’s for the Summer while their home York Castle is being repaired and renovated.

Once in the foyer, Lady Elizabeth finds her sister-in-law’s Grandmama Lady Knott giving instructions to their staff about which trunks go into which bed chambers.  And it seems that they have a new guest in Lady Winston.  Though Lady Elizabeth was too late to see her brother Lord Harold bounding up the stairs with his wife in his arms.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Lady Knott, It is a pleasure to see you again.”  She glances over to the unfamiliar but obviously consequential older lady standing with Lady Knott.  “Might you introduce me to your friend?”

Lady Knott: “Of course, My Dear.  Lady Elizabeth, May I introduce you to Lady Horatia Winston, my sister.  And Lady Winston, may I introduce you to Lady Elizabeth Blount.  Oh, and her almost betrothed, Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York.”  Lady Knott gestures her arm toward Lord Duncan in a casually friendly way.  “How is that going, by the way, My Lord?”

Lord Duncan:  “Very well.”  He smiles broadly, then lifts Lady Elizabeth’s small hand to his lips and kisses it.

Lady Winston: “We seem to have a plethora of young married—or soon to be married—couples around us.”  Though delighted that her granddaughter Lady Penelope has been saved from the clutches of her first husband Lord Lindquist, the whirl of her granddaughter’s  French Lutheran divorce decree and subsequent French marriage to Lord Harold Blount a few months ago—and now them soon to welcome their first child– has quite tilted Lady Winston off of her axis.

Lady Knott:  “Yes, My Dear Sister.  Yet such a blessing.”  Lady Knott lovingly clasps her sister’s hand in her in affection and in solidarity.  For these two old ladies, widows both, still have much to look forward to with their grandchildren, and their soon to be great grandchildren.

Lady Elizabeth:  Shyly bold, Lady Elizabeth  asks Lady Knott—as she looks back and forth between the two old ladies.  “And whom else is married or soon to be married?”  Her eyes are wide in anticipation.  She thinks that if someone else has marital aspirations, then that might lessen the focus upon she and her Lord Duncan.

Lady Winston:  “My granddaughter, Lady Penelope was lately married to your brother Lord Harold Blount.  And they are soon to welcome their first child together.”  The elderly lady states without ceremony.

Well, the revelation of her brother Lord Harold’s unexpected marriage and soon to be fatherhood has quite taken Lady Elizabeth by surprise—as her slightly open mouth indicates.

Lady Knott:  Gently touching Lady Elizabeth under her chin and pushing upward, closing her mouth, Lady Knot smiles.  “Remember about not catching flies, My Dear.”

Lady Elizabeth: “But I do not understand.  Where is my brother Lord Harold?  Did he travel with you?”  She looks around the foyer and the open doors to the parlor that looks empty.

Prinn: “My Lady Elizabeth, Lord Harold … escorted his wife to their bed chambers so she could rest.  We are tending to their immediate needs.”  Lady Elizabeth nods and then he turns to the older ladies again and bows.  “My Ladies, if you would please follow me, we have readied a large guest suite of two bed chambers for you—which share a sitting room, as Lady Knott’s express missive requested.”

It seems that at least Lady Knott had the presence of mind to assure their accommodations—even if she did not mention Lord Harold’s news of his wife and her with child delicate condition.

And it will remain to be seen how Lord Christian and Lady Madeline will view the unexpected development of Lord Harold’s fait accompli marriage and growing family.

To be continued with Chapter 24


Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 23 image  for  June 03, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1239)

1)  “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art  image represents Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at ; the text font  is Vivaldi.


“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 23  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for June 03, 2019 (Post #1239):

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 22  URL for Something About Love story (Post #1238),  May 27,  2019:

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Drama, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 22:  A loving reconciliation,  May 27, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1238)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 22:  A loving reconciliation,  May 27, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1238)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):   Vicar Frederick Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten) portrayed by David Oakes;  Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten  (portrayed by Margaret Clunie);  Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay, daughter of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred  (portrayed by Francesca Capaldi);  Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant) and  Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (portrayed by Emma Thompson)]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

Ch. 22:  A loving  reconciliation

Though Lady Constance and Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby had parted amiably the previous night—after tucking their daughter into bed—the pull of having her husband so close draws Lady Constance awake in the middle of the night.  Assuring herself that their daughter Lady Tamsin sleeps comfortably and deeply–and therefore, she is not likely to awaken in the night–Lady Constance slips on her robe, slips out of her room, then she slips into her husband Lord Alfred’s bedchamber across the hallway from her bedchamber.

With the drapes only half open in Lord Alfred’s/Vicar Whitby’s bed chamber, the room’s darkened interior adds a layer of a  forbidden nature to her  trespass into her newly returned husband’s bed chamber.  She understands logically why her husband wishes to court her, and have a wedding vow renewal, before they resume their lives as husband and wife.  Yet, her heart feels the pull of touching her husband, cuddling with him at his side, and sleeping next to him.

So Lady Constance removes her night robe, and slides under the covers next to her sleeping husband, curling on her side next to him—her right hand lying upon his bare chest, while his bare left hand missing his pinkie finger subconsciously clasps her hand to his heart.  And then out of perhaps a long ago memory, he reaches his other arm around  her back in his sleep, cuddling her close.  Then she also falls asleep in her love’s arms.

Some hours later, Lady Tamsin awakens to use the chamber pot behind the screen in the corner of her bed chamber.  Then after, she walks into her Mama’s adjacent bed chamber  in search of her mother to cuddle with for the rest of the night.  However, Lady Tamsin finds her Mama’s bed empty.  And  Lady Tamsin rightly assumes that her Mama Lady Constance is with her Papa Lord Alfred. So now Lady Tamsin slips into the hallway, and then into her Papa’s bed chamber.  There she finds her parents sleeping cuddled up together in their night clothes.  And the sleepy Lady Tamsin slides into bed cuddling next to her Mama’s back and she falls asleep again.

And there several hours later the newly reunited Marquess and Marchioness of Malten family begins to awaken.  Though Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby cannot recall, he thinks that surely this bed is the most comfortable one that he has ever slept in in his life.  The vicarage furniture for his spartan bed chamber there consists of a lumpy straw mattress over a slatted cot, and scratchy sheets and blankets.  In truth, he has given over the vicarage housing to help poor London families displaced from their homes find shelter. But here at the Sussex Hall manor house in the country, the cushioned down filled mattress with its soft linen and satin bedding is comfortable and cozy.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby will return to his cozy bed, just as soon as he has arisen to tend to his morning needs.  However, when he opens his eyes and truly intends to move from his bed, he finds that he cannot.  For his wife Lady Constance lies abed with him—with she just in her thin silk nightgown and he with his torso bare and clasping her hand to his heart.   He blinks a few times to assure himself that this vision of her loveliness is actually here, in his bed, with him.  And she is.

Wanting this moment of tender awe to last a bit longer, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby  realizes, with chagrin, that he must still arise and use the chamber pot in the corner.  So he lifts Lady Constance’s hand lying upon his chest and clasped by his maimed left hand, to his lips.  And he realizes that she must have come to him in the night, and she did not pull away from his disfigured hand when he clasped her in sleep.

He thinks that only his Love Constance would not flinch at his infirmity—and he loves her all the more for it.  He loves her.  That thought feels so right, and he hopes that it harkens a new path for them to find their way back together as husband and wife.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “My Lady Constance.  My Dear.”  His whispered vocal timbre is deep and soothing.

Lady Constance:  “Hmmm?”  She sighs, not truly awake.  So he tries again.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “Constance?”  He kisses the top of her head.  Yet still she sleeps quite soundly.  And then he cannot help himself and he leans down and kisses Lady Constance upon her lips.  “Oh Constance, My Love!  You are so beautiful.”  He smoulders.

Lady Constance: “Alfred?  My Alfred?”  She sighs in waking up.  Then she looks up at him and smiles.  “So my dream came true.  You have come back to me.”

And before he can reply to her, a third more smallish person joins the conversation—as she rises up on her elbow as she lies cuddled behind her Mama, Lady Constance.

Lady Tamsin: “To us, Papa.  You have returned to us.  Hhhh!”  She yawns sleepily.

Now Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby feels slightly embarrassed to be in bed with his wife Lady Constance—and to have their daughter present as well.  This is awkward.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Yes, I am real Constance.  And I have returned to you and our daughter Lady Tamsin.  But now, I must excuse myself for a moment.”  He can not bring himself to say that he needs to use the chamber pot.  A gentleman does not speak on such private matters.

Lady Tamsin: “Oh very well, Papa.  Then I will go back to my bed chamber and use the chamber pot there.”  His daughter smiles cutely before she dashes out of her father’s bedchamber, leaving her parents blushing.  At nine years old, Lady Tamsin is still just a child who sometimes reveals more than she should.

Lady Constance: “I should also leave you to your privacy, Alfred Dearest.”  She sits up.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “Then will you rejoin me, Constance?  I have never slept so well as I did last night—in this fine bed, and in your arms.  And it is early yet.”  He adds hopefully as he gazes at her with a loving smile.  Though Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby was the one who asked his wife Lady Constance for patience in their resuming their marital relations, he now finds himself wanting to set that negotiation aside—as he feels himself to be a man and her husband first, and a vicar second.

Lady Constance: Smiling shyly, she nods.  “I will.”

After Lady Constance leaves his bed chamber, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby quickly uses the chamber pot and nearby wash basin.  Then he brushes his teeth with a conveniently supplied twig and some mint leaves.  Though his beard does not seem too scratchy yet, he will have to shave this morning.  But he does not have time for that now, as Lady Constance returns to his bed chamber and lingers at his closed door.  Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby instantly walks to her side and pulls her into his arms.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “I feel such a connection to and with you.  Even though I have only just found you again barely a day ago, I feel that we are husband and wife.”

Lady Constance: “You do?”  He nods slowly, watching her reaction—as her face becomes flushed and she trembles in his arms.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “May I …  May I kiss you?”  He asks tentatively, yet desirously.

Lady Constance: “Yes, oh yes!”

Lady Constance sighs and stands on her tip toes, even has Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby  swoops down to claim her lips [(2) below].  At first, his kisses are hesitant as he explores her plump lips—her also having mint leaf fresh breath.  Then his arms fully wrap around her and he pulls her body to mold against his body—such that not a whisper could pass between them.

After a few moments of blissful kissing, Lord Alfred lifts Lady Constance up into his arms and carries her back to bed.  And before he joins her there, he begins to pull away from her.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Let me just lock …”

Lady Constance: “I already locked the door after I shut it.”  She blushes again for her wanting to be alone with her husband in this way.


He smiles, then the language of their lips becomes their only conversation as they become one as husband and wife after ten long years of separation.  Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby feels an instinctive urge to kiss and caress his wife with loving abandon.  And she rejoices in his loving ministrations.  And his concerns about making love with her when he did not remember her as his wife, fall away.  For his body remembers her body in every loving and tender way as he brings her rapturous joy, that he also feels.

Then spent from their lovemaking, they lie tenderly in each other’s arms—whispering words of love, sharing small kisses, and gazing at each other with sweet affection—knowing the rightness of their being together as lovers.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “That was … beautiful.  You are beautiful, Constance.”

Lady Constance:  “Yes, it was!”  She sighs.  “And you are even more handsome as a man now, than you were as a much younger man when we wed ten years ago.”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Oh?”  He smiles in mirth.  “Have I changed so greatly?”

Lady Constance:  “A little.”  She blushes and lowers her eyes, before his finger under her chin gently guides her to look up into his eyes.  He raises a quizzical eyebrow—as if to ask to what she refers.  “Well, your shoulders seem broader and you have bigger muscles.”  She squeezes his upper arm in wonder for his masculine perfection.

He smiles with male satisfaction.  He has loved her very well this early morning.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “And you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”

Lady Constance:  “Even though I am ten years older and have born a child?”  She asks feeling slightly self-conscious  about  her fuller womanly curves.

Placing his hand upon her bare nearly flat belly under the bed covers, he reassures her.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “Your bearing our child Tamsin has only made you seem more womanly to me.  And God willing, we will have more children, whom I will be here to help you raise them.”  He had missed out on their daughter Lady Tamsin’s early childhood years, and he looks forward to watching their future children grow up and helping to parent them.

Then not surprisingly, they hear a knock upon Lord Alfred’s bed chamber door.

Lady Tamsin: “Mama?  Papa?  Are you still abed?  Or have you gone down to breakfast?”

Her parents smile in chagrin.  Then just as they are to answer her, another voice intervenes—on their behalf.

Lord Robert: “Tammy Dear.  Now let us leave your Mama and Papa to their rest this morning.  And I do believe that Lady Gwendolyn was hoping you could join us for breakfast, before we go into the village for the market faire.”

Lady Tamsin: “A faire?  Really Uncle Lord Robert?” She claps her hands together in childish glee.

Lord Robert:  “Yes.  So ring for your maid to help you get dressed, and then we will join Lady Gwendolyn downstairs in the breakfast parlor.  Then after breakfast, we will take a carriage to the faire.”

Lady Tamsin: “But what about Mama and Papa?  Would they not also like to go to the faire?”

Lord Robert: “Well.”  He delays his response, while he thinks how to respond to her.  “Perhaps today, we will let them sleep in.  Then tomorrow we might see if we can entice them to go to the village faire.  Hmmm?”

Lady Tamsin: “That will be fine.”  She nods, conveying her agreement with her Uncle Lord Robert.  Though still a child of only nine years, Lady Tamsin sometimes displays a worldliness about her.  And she will be a force to be reckoned with in a few years time as a young lady of fourteen.  “In that way, we can tell them about all of the good shoppes  and booths to visit.”

Lord Robert: “Precisely!  Now run along and I will see you in a quarter hour for breakfast.”   He rubs his stubbled chin as he watches his niece run back into her bed chamber before  heading back into his own bed chamber for a shave before dressing for the day.   And he smirks for being a good brother in steering his sister’s daughter away from her parents’ bed chamber, where he is sure that Lady Tamsin’s parents  are on a path toward a loving reconciliation as husband and wife.  And he is happy for them.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby and Lady Constance smile secretly at their reprieve from having to start their day.  And they return to their bed for more cuddling, and such, this morning.

To be continued with Chapter 23


Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 22 images  for   May 27, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1238)

1)  “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

2)   Lady Constance and Lord Alfred kissing are Margaret Clunie and David Oakes from Victoria, cap by Grati–from a video by irydionlover found at


“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 22  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for May 27, 2019 (Post #1238):

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 21 story URL on my SAL blog Post #1236,  May 19,  2019:

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, David Oakes, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Margaret Clunie, Period Drama, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Downton Abbey” the movie is finally coming!  I can’t wait to see it! May 23, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1237)

“Downton Abbey” the movie is finally coming!  I can’t wait to see it!


Posted in Downton Abbey, Drama, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, movies, Period Drama, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 21:  Courting Couples, Part 2,  May 19, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1236)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 21:  Courting Couples, Part 2,
May 19, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1236; and on Wattpad)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):   Vicar Frederick Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten) portrayed by David Oakes;  Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten portrayed by Margaret Clunie; Miss Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay, daughter of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred is portrayed by Francesca Capaldi; Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre, Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York, and Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones) who is smitten with Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay), who is sister to Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage)_  and sister-in-law to his young wife Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex (portrayed by Kate Winslet]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.


Ch. 21:  Courting Couples, Part 2

Though with Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby coming to live with his wife Lady Constance and daughter Tamsin up at the large and elegant Sussex Hall Manor House last night, the excitement of this momentous family reunion makes sleep hard won—except for the youngest of them, the now Lady Tamsin Lindsay of York.  For nine year old Lady Tamsin’s eyes close in sleep almost as soon as she gains her bed and her parents kiss her good night upon her forehead.

But for Lord Alfred’s/Vicar Whitby’s and Lady Constance’s parting to sleep this night, it is charged with the pleasing tension of former lovers yearning for reconnection,  yet with them waiting for full reconciliation until they court for a suitable period and then are wed, again.  Lord Alfred still feels himself to be a vicar and barring remembrance of his marriage to Lady Constance, he has told her that he wants to hold a new marriage ceremony—that can be a renewal of their vows to each other.

So, the couple walk through the connecting door from Lady Tamsin’s bed chamber to Lady Constance’s bed chamber and part chastely, albeit in near proximity to her bed.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  Taking her small hand in his, he chastely kisses it upon the top of her soft skinned and creamy complexioned hand.  “I will leave you now to your rest, Constance.  And in the morning, we shall start our lives anew as a family with ourselves and with our daughter Tamsin.”

Lady Constance: “Oh Alfred!”  She sighs.  “It has been my fondest wish these past ten years for us to do so.”  Her loving gaze almost undoes him with the depth of her unswerving devotion.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “And mine as well—to have a family.”  He states somewhat obliquely, since he still does not remember Lady Constance—however much he truly wishes that he did.  So he smiles then exits to the empty hallway and then enters his newly assigned bedchamber across from hers.


And though the Ducal parents of both York and Lancashire families have also long since gone to their beds, their offspring Lady Gwendolyn of York and Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre [(2) below]—and the Lancashire Ducal heir—remain seated in matching wing chairs on either side of the front parlor’s hearth.  The waning embers from the nearly fully burned logs still casts a bit of warmth in their direction.

Studying Lady Gwendolyn by the evening’s candlelight glow, Lord Robert finds her countenance pleasing—not the least of which is because she is not looking at him whiles she gazes at the hearth fire burning low, and nor is she judging his action or thoughts.  He had spent the five years after earning his university degree in anthropology in studious pursuits by  traveling around the world.  And though he had occasionally accepted the favors of a comely widow or two over the years, he has not found love.  Nor does he think that he ever will find love.

And yet, he must marry and produce an heir.  Then his thoughts return to the lady before him.  Though he is tired from the long day and its momentous events in having Lord Alfred Lindsay of York the Marquess of Malten returned to his sister Lady Constance, Lord Robert finds a comforting silence in his present situation—of just he and Lady Gwendolyn [(3) below] sitting together in companionable silence.  And he also wishes for his own connection to someone—whether it be in simple pleasing  friendship, or something more passionate.

Lord Robert:  “A penny.”  Lord Robert smiles at Lady Gwendolyn, who raises her droopy lids to gaze upon him with a small smile.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh Robert.  I think my thoughts are worth more than a penny.”  She teases in her dusky alto tones.

Lord Robert: “No doubt, but I left my purse in my chambers.  So all I have in my current possession is one penny.”  He pulls the penny out of his waistcoat pocket to show it to her.  Then he hands the penny out to her and she takes it.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Very well, I will take this offered penny on account.  Ha!”  She laughs and he smiles. He looks inquisitively at her, wishing her to relay her thoughts to him.  “Well, I am so happy for my brother Alfred to be found alive and reunited with his wife Lady Constance and their daughter Lady Tamsin.  My heart is full to overflowing with joy for them.”  When Lady Gwendolyn is often accused of being terse and moody, her surprising good humor takes Lord Robert somewhat aback.

Lord Robert: “I share your sentiments.  Yet, I feel that knowing my niece as I do, there will need to be more of their spending time with each other in order to cement their renewed family ties.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Well Tammy seems quite taken with her Papa my brother  Alfred and seems to accept him without reservation.”

Lord Robert: “True.  But just as she previously had thrived under her Mama’s sole and undivided attentions, Tamsin will likely seek to monopolize her newfound Papa’s attentions.”  He raises his eye brows, as if in suggestion of something yet unspoken.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Do you propose that Tammy’s interests be redirected?  To allow Lady Constance and my brother Alfred time alone together to renew their acquaintance?”

Lord Robert: “I see that our thoughts are in harmonious accord with one another.”  He smiles, him thinking that harmony is a pleasing state for any relationship.

Lady Gwendolyn: “What do you propose?” She asks queryingly.

Lord Robert stands and gentlemanly holds out his hand to assist  Lady Gwendolyn in rising from her chair.  And she stands next to him, though she gracefully pulls her hand away from his as soon as her balance is assured.  They are becoming friends and there is an ease in communicating and being with each other.  But the proprieties must be observed with her as an unmarried woman and he as a single man.

Lord Robert: “Let us sleep upon it, My Lady.  Perhaps something will occur to one of us in the morning.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Indeed.”  She bestows upon him a small smile.  Then he escorts her to her York family bedchamber hallway, before attaining his own Lancashire family bed chamber down the far hallway.


Meanwhile, Lord Harold Blount  [(4) below] and his love Lady Penelope Lindquist had attained London and her Grandmama Winston’s townhouse yesterday—where she was greeted warmly by both her Grandmama and her Grandmama’s sister, her Great Aunt Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, her cousin Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount’s Grandmama.

And Lady Penelope had revealed her baby joy to him on their ride to London in his brother’s borrowed Sussex family carriage—since she was concerned about the bumpy state of the roads and her condition.  Lord Harold kissed her joyfully for their upcoming parenthood, then instructed his coachman to drive more slowly.  Then Lord Harold and Lady Penelope enjoyed some tender cuddling time in the carriage as they made plans for the future.

Of course their future relies upon her Grandmama Winston’s and her Great Aunt Lady Knott’s help.  And after hearing both Lady Penelope’s [(5) below] story of her husband’s malfeasance of her dowry funds being his only use for her, and the verity of her virginal state being attested to by her husband Lord Harold Blount—who had married her in a French ceremony a few months ago, before he bedded her and got her with child—the Archbishop of Canterbury was deeply troubled at the current mess they were in.

It seems that with Lord Harold’s help Lady Penelope had obtained a French Lutheran decree of divorce [(6)] —based upon the financial fraud that her husband had perpetrated upon her, and since their marriage was never consummated.  However, since her marriage to the Earl of Lindquist occurred in England, the English church has to concur with the French Lutheran divorce decree.  And for her hastily arranged French marriage to Lord Harold to count in England, her first marriage needs to be annulled by a date prior to her second marriage—so some backdating will need to take place.  And then, Lord Harold and Lady Penelope will need to have a wedding vow solemnization ceremony in England to both finalize their earlier French marital union and for their child to be legitimate in the eyes of the law.

So tonight, Lord Harold and Lady Penelope enjoy a marital reunion of tender passions at his brother Christy’s London mansion known as Sussex House.  And Lady Penelope finally feels cherished and loved for her sweet self, because Lord Harold married her without expectation of a dowry—since her large dowry was squandered by her first husband.  And though her Grandmama Winston has decided to settle upon her an additional 10,000 pounds, Lord Harold Blount insists that the funds be held in trust for Lady Penelope’s use and direction alone—for her future protection, should he pre-decease her many years from now.   And the now married man and soon to be father Lord Harold is finally becoming the man and gentleman that his family hoped that he would mature into one day.

At  daybreak of the coming day, the two elderly ladies plan to be ensconced in Lady Knott’s comfortable carriage and the newlywed Lord Harold and Lady Penelope Blount  will be traveling  in the Sussex family carriage.  They all plan to travel to Sussex Hall in the countryside in the morning—reaching it in the afternoon.  Until then, all parties concentrate on getting a good night’s sleep—especially Lord Harold and his pregnant wife Lady Penelope lying tenderly in each other’s arms.


Unfortunately, Lady Elizabeth Blount has trouble sleeping in her bed chamber in the Sussex Hall Dower House this night.  But for her younger brother Lord Harold galivanting off to rescue his lady love Lady Penelope Lindquist—who also happens to be the cousin of her sister-in-law Lady Madeline, and her grandmother Lady Knott’s niece—their home seemed to be a buzz of activity today.  And with her happy loving thoughts of Lord Duncan of York the Viscount Lindsay, she feels ever so happy and excited.

Most pressingly, Lady Elizabeth  hopes to find a new hidden location for kissing  Lord Duncan—since their back garden terrace location was discovered.  And she wonders how she might speed up the whole courting business between Lord Duncan and she—in order to get to the being married to him part more quickly than in the six weeks timeframe that her brother Lord Christian had stipulated.

With her dearest friend and sister-in-law Lady Madeline so happy with her brother Lord Christian as husband, Lady Elizabeth wants to also experience that marital happiness, an inkling about  which Lady Elizabeth received when she and Lord Duncan shared their stolen kisses earlier today.

And unbeknownst to anyone, Lord Duncan had procured a special marriage license for he and Lady Elizabeth before he traveled to stay at the Summer at Sussex Hall Manor.  That was well before he knew of his brother Lord Alfred being returned to them and Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay would be free of the expectation to marry Lady Constance Knights bridge Lindsay—whom he thought was his brother’s widow.  But Lord Duncan did not then, nor now, wish to marry Lady Elizabeth in order to thwart his marital destiny.  In fact, Lord Duncan feels that in loving and marrying Lady Elizabeth, it will be the making of his future happiness, and of hers.

So, this night—having had his valet discreetly inquire earlier to Lady Elizabeth’s ladies maid as to which upper floor Sussex Hall Dower House bed chamber window belonged to his love Lady Elizabeth—Lord Duncan stands below Lady Elizabeth’s  bed chamber window.  Shifting the haphazardly gathered from the nearby garden  flower blooms into his left hand, his right hand reaches into his coat pocket where several small stones—pebbles, really—were earlier placed there by him.  Lord Duncan lifts his hand over his head and tosses the pebble upward to a certain  window.

To Lord Duncan’s chagrin, the darkened lighting conditions  just after midnight do not allow him to see that the window sash is raised to allow the cool and pleasant night air to waft gently into Lady Elizabeth’s bed chamber.  So he hears no tap upon the window glass, nor the almost silent thud the pebble makes on the rug inside the bed chamber.

Trying again, he steps back and hurls another small pebble at the window.  This time the pebble hits something solid inside the bed chamber—as evidenced by a cat giving a small screech.  He cannot risk discovery and looks about to see if he has been found out.  But  his heart also will not be thwarted in his mission this night.  So he tosses a third pebble and it taps against the window glass—unbeknownst to him, creating a radiating crack upon the thin glass window pane, but not breaking it.

Having picked up her cat to cuddle it when she heard it screech in its soft bed pillow by the window, Lady Elizabeth jumps back when she hears the window glass crack.  Not knowing what is going on, she surreptitiously looks out of the window, only to find her love Lord Duncan standing hopefully in the moonlight, gazing up at her with a broad smile upon his face.  And she raises the sash a bit further and pops her head out of the window.  Would that there were a two story trellis upon that side of Sussex Hall Manor House, Lord Duncan would risk the climb to claim her lips again with his lips.

Lady Elizabeth: “Duncan, I’ll be right down.”  She whispers.  “Meet me …”  She pauses, her wanting to choose a place that her brother Lord Christian’s bed chamber sitting room windows do not look over.  “On second thought, you stay there.  I will come to you.”  And Lady Elizabeth ducks back into her bed chamber, plops her cat upon its pillow, and she grabs her thin night robe to cover her equally thin nightgown.  She reasons that it is dark outside and not too chilly.  So her less than fully attired state will not flout propriety, nor risk her catching a cold.

Lady Elizabeth stealthily makes her way down the back servant staircase to the main floor.  Then she traverses to a servant exit near where her Lord Duncan stands still looking up at her bed chamber window.  He wonders the wisdom of him seeking out his love at night when all are abed—as they both should be.  But the thought of being abed, with Lady Elizabeth—as his wife, of course—causes him to feel deeply … unsettled, in a yearning, young swain kind of way.

Lady Elizabeth:  Bursting to the out of doors, Lady Elizabeth whispers breathily for her exertions in racing through the Dower House.  “Duncan!”  Then she launches herself into his arms and he wraps his arms around her as they kiss with loving abandon,  him necessarily dropping the gathered flowers upon the ground.

Lord Duncan:  His lips finally breaks from hers, only to wend a path of searing kisses down her long creamy neck.  “Oh Elizabeth, My Love!”  He smoulders in a passionately deep voice.  “I want you as my wife and in my bed as soon as possible.”  Her skin through her two thin layers of fabric feels soft and supple—her having ample womanly curves, despite her tender 18 years, which excite his passions.

Lady Elizabeth: Clasping his head in the hope of bringing it back up for them to kiss some more, she responds with equal passion. “I wish that, too, Dearest.  But my brother Christy insists on our having month long courtship, and then that we wed after that.  I do not know how to persuade him otherwise.”  Then she reaches her lips to his again and their mouths become one in their joining together, coupling their lips and tongues together, even as their bodies yearn for the same.

Lord Duncan can think of a way to speed Christy’s decision.  But he will not compromise his love Lady Elizabeth.  Her reputation is unblemished, and it is his honor to keep it so as her future husband.

Lord Duncan:  “My Love, I must return to York Castle in three weeks, to assess the progress of the repairs and renovations.  I will ask Christy if we may be married in two weeks, so that we might have a short wedding trip on our way to York Castle.”

Lady Elizabeth: “I like that idea!”  She agrees wholeheartedly.

Lord Duncan: “But in the next two weeks, can you arrange your pretty wedding gown that you have dreamed of since childhood?”  He asks hopefully.  For he understands that for ladies, the wedding ceremony where she is the center of attention is a pinnacle moment in every young woman’s life.

Lady Elizabeth: “I have dreamed of having no particular wedding gown, Duncan.  My only long lasting wish has been that you will be my husband.  Everything else is secondary.”

Lord Duncan: “My Love!  How practical you are!”

Lady Elizabeth: “I would marry you tomorrow, but I would like my scapegrace brother Lord Harold to attend.  And we are as of yet, uncertain about his location—other than him seeking to rescue his Lady Penelope.  And for my Grandmother Lady Catherine’s sake, I would also like Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Knott to return and be in attendance.  Other than also having your parents and the Lancashire’s join us, I can think of no others to invite.”

Lord Duncan: “That is brilliant!  We will say to Lord Christian that we wish to wed in two weeks time—to allow our special guests to arrive, before we must be off to York Castle.  And shall we be wed from the Sussex Hall Manor House Chapel or the village church?”

Lady Elizabeth:  “Either would suit me.  But the local villagers having watched me grow up, might wish to see me at least in a passing carriage.  So perhaps we can wed at the village church, then have a large garden reception up at Sussex Hall Manor.”

Lord Duncan nods, smiling broadly.  He and Lady Elizabeth have fixed their plan to wed earlier rather than later.  They just need to get Lord Christian to agree to it in the morn.  Let alone, they will have to come up with a plausible reason why one of Lady Elizabeth’s Dower House bed chamber window panes is surprisingly cracked and needs replacing.

And elsewhere in the Sussex Hall Manor House and the Sussex Hall Dower House, the sleeping inhabitants will awaken this morn in several hours to a few more surprises of their own.

To be continued with Chapter 22


Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 21 images  for  May 19, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1236)

1)  “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

2)   Lord Robert Knightsbridge, Marquess of Wyre, in neckcloth, cls, is Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars in “Sense & Sensibility” via Yet Another Period Drama blog; image link is

3) Lady Gwendolyn’s pale light purple lavender silk organza evening gown (Grati background mask) is Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in 1995’s Sense & Sensibility found at

4) Lord Harold Blount image  (background mask  by Grati) is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series Pride and Prejudice and was found at

5) Lady Penelope Lindquist is portrayed by Lily Travers—who appears on Victoria season 3 in 2019 as Duchess Sophie of Monmouth; the image was found at

6) The French Lutheran divorce decree that I refer to is complete fiction—a dramatic device that I conjured up to help the two lovebirds along.

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 21  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for May 19, 2019 (Post #1236):


Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 20 story URL on my SAL blog Post #1235,  May 12,  2019:



Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Dreams, Emma Thompson, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Honor, Hope, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Romance, Storytelling, Weddings, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 20:  Courting Couples, Part I,  May 12, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1235)

Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 20:  Courting Couples, Part I,  May 12, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1235)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

 [As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Christian Blount, the Earl of Sussex, and his young bride and Countess Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount;  Vicar Frederick Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten) portrayed by David Oakes;  Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten portrayed by Margaret Clunie; Miss Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay, daughter of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred is portrayed by Francesca Capaldi; and Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones) who is smitten with Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay) who is sister to Lord Christian]


Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.


“Expectations” (Book 2), Ch. 20—Courting Couples, Part I

Before they are to have a light dinner with Grandmother Lady Catherine Dowager Countess of Sussex, Lady Madeline’s husband Lord Christian Earl of Sussex, and his sister Lady Elizabeth Blount, Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex sits plumped up upon her bed pillows—with her ankles raised on yet more pillows, to stem their slight swelling due to her pregnancy with their first child.  She is writing in her journal  about what transpired this afternoon, with Vicar Whitby revealed to all as the long lost Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten.  It is rather a long journal entry so far, as her husband Lord Christian [(2) below] paces the floor in their sitting room area.

Lady Madeline: “Christian, Dearest, you will wear out the lovely rug with your pacing.  Please sit down, preferably next to me.”  She smiles with sparkling eyes and pats his side of their bed.  She then returns her journal and pencil to her nightstand to give her husband her full attention.  With her long flowing auburn tresses falling about her shoulders, Lady Madeline [(3) below] is a vision of womanly beauty.

Lord Christian:  “Would that I could be relieved of my concerns.”

Lady Madeline: “And what concerns might those be?”  Yet she knows very well what his concerns are—as any wife should.

Lord Christian:  He moves to doff his boots, jacket, and waistcoat before coming to sit next to his wife atop their soft satin bed coverlet.  “You know very well that Lord Duncan kissed my sister Elizabeth on the hidden part of the garden terrace.” He states irritatedly.  Their sitting room bay window to the back garden has a clear view of that portion of the terrace, on the other side of the thickly overgrown hedge.

Lady Madeline: “Yes Dear.  People in love usually do kiss.”  Lady Madeline pats his muscular shoulder leaning over her.  She is far too sanguine for her husband’s tastes. “We did.”  She raises a saucy eyebrow in his direction, and he pouts.

Lord Christian: “Yes, but we were already engaged at that point.”  He counters.  “Lizzie and Duncan are not yet engaged.”

Lady Madeline: “Yet they could become engaged, if you would simply let Lord Duncan know that you encourage his suit of your sister, Lady Elizabeth—and she is also now my sister through our marriage.”

Lady Madeline purposely uses Lady Elizabeth’s full name, to lend an air of maturity about her—that her childhood nickname of Lady Lizzie does not convey.  In actual fact, Lady Elizabeth is only four months younger than her sister-in-law Lady Madeline—and Lady Madeline is already married to Lord Christian and bearing their child to come in the Autumn.

Lord Christian: “Darling, I want Elizabeth to be as happy in her choice of love as we are.  Yet I do not like the marital machinations surrounding Lord Duncan.  Initially, Lord Duncan was unofficially betrothed to his believed to be dead elder brother Lord Alfred, the ducal heir’s fiance Lady Constance.  Then his brother Lord Alfred is returned to the Lindsay family of York.  And suddenly Lord Duncan is available—and him not being required to wed his brother’s former betrothed, whom we now know Lord Alfred had married secretly before he went off to war and was injured and presumed dead—and he was thought lost to his family ten years ago.”

Lady Madeline: “Yes, that is exactly my point—Lord Duncan is now free from other marital expectations of him.  And you will do well to accept the situation that Lady Elizabeth and Lord Duncan love each other and wish to marry.”

Lord Christian:  “But …”  He is interrupted, when an Earl is never interrupted—or he should not be.

Lady Madeline: “Dearest, please.  Think of your sister Elizabeth’s happiness.  Her heart’s desire is all wrapped up in Lord Duncan.”  Lady Madeline uses her most entreating tone and hopeful expression.  For Lady Madeline knows that Lord Christian knows that he has no other avenue of approach in keeping his little sister Lady Lizzie, his little sister forever.

Lord Christian: “I will think upon it over dinner.  Then if Lord Duncan returns to us as planned after his family dinner with his parents and Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby, Lady Constance and her family up at Sussex Hall, I will lay down some courting ground rules with him.”

Lady Madeline: Now patting her husband’s muscular arm and then laying her head upon his shoulder.  “Thank you.  Now let us lie down and nap.”  Lord Christian’s eyebrow saucily perks up in interest.  “No Christian Dearest, I really do suggest that we nap.  It has been a most overwhelming day.  Hhhh!  Perhaps I will feel less tired when we go to bed later.”  She smiles sweetly at him.

Lord Christian: “Of course, My Darling.”  He helps her adjust from sitting to lying down on their bed–and he joins her there.  “Rest, My Love.”  And they both doze off.


Up at the Sussex Hall Manor House, the Lindsay family—including Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred’s ducal parents of York, his wife Lady Constance [(4) below] and their child Miss Tamsin, and his brother Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York, and their sister Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York, etc.—arrive and are escorted to their bed chambers to freshen up and change before dinner at Sussex Hall.  Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby is astounded by the size and grandeur of the stately home.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “My word, Sussex Hall is magnificent!”  It is obvious that Sussex Hall has been well maintained and enhanced over the years.  And Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred eagerly looks around at the splendor.

Lady Constance:  “It is.  But it is a family home as well.”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  Focusing upon a silvery shining knight of armor in a far niche, Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred asks distractedly.  “Was that knight armor display always in that location?”

Butler:  “Why, no My Lord.”  He bows, for all of the Sussex Hall Manor staff have been apprised of the developing situation with regard to Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten’s return to the bosom of his family. “The 1st Earl’s knightly armor formerly stood guard at the base of the grand staircase.  But it was moved when it was often inadvertently knocked over…”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “Yes, by someone sliding down the bannister.” He admits sheepishly, for he had knocked over the knight’s armor a time or two in his youthful visits to Lord Christian’s boyhood home when they were on holiday together from Eton nearly twenty years ago.

Lady Constance: “You remember that, Alfred?” She smiles up at him and he nods with a smile.  Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby’s memories of his life before the war are random and disjointed—and none about Lady Constance yet. But at least he is remembering some things, he thinks.

Lady Gwendolyn:  Walking up to Lady Constance and her brother Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby, Lady Gwendolyn graciously acts as hostess of their rented property for the Summer. “Come, let me show you to your bed chamber, Alfred.  They are quite cozy.”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby blanches at the likely proximity of his bed chamber to Lady Constance’s bed chamber—since they are husband and wife, though he still does not remember their long ago courting and marriage.

Miss Tamsin:  Sliding upon the highly polished marble flooring, Miss Tamsin skids to a halting stop before her parents.  “Where will you sleep, Papa?”  She asks eagerly.  “Next to my bed chamber near Mama’s, or across the hall from Mama and next to Uncle Lord Robert’s bed chambers?”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “Well,  I …”  There is a sudden look of panic in his eyes, for he wishes to court Lady Constance before marrying her, again—and let alone him sharing a bed with his wife, again.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Normally, a husband sleeps in the room next to his wife, Tammy Dear.”  She caresses her niece’s cheek.

Miss Tamsin: “But that is my room, the one next to Mama Lady Constance, with a connecting door.”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  Pleased beyond words, he sighs.  “Hhhh!  I would not wish to displace you Miss Tamsin.  I am happy to be situated wherever it is convenient.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Well Alfred/Fred, anticipating Miss Tamsin’s wanting to stay in the bed chamber she was first assigned, I have assigned you the bed chamber directly opposite Lady Constance’s bed chamber.  And it has been made ready for you.”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “Thank you.”  He nods, for his sister Gwennies’ tact in assigning him a separate but nearby bed chamber to his wife and daughter in the Lancashire family guest bed chambers hallway—rather than across the castle along the Lindsay’s of York bed chambers hallway.  He still stuns at the revelation that he is a married man with a daughter–but less so as he continues to acknowledge his changed reality.

Then clasping her Papa’s and her Mama’s hands, Miss Tamsin leads them toward her father’s bed chamber.

Miss Tamsin: “Come!  Let us see about the comfort and decoration of Papa’s bed chamber.”  And Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby presumes that his daughter will be quite the fine hostess one day.

Inside his newly assigned Sussex Hall bed chamber, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby bypasses the bed and walks to the large window with the drapes open letting the last of the West facing setting sun light in.  Of course, Miss Tamsin dashes over to the bed, jumps, and plops in the middle of the burgundy satin coverlet.

Lady Constance: “Tammy!  That is your Papa’s bed.  And I am certain that he does not wish you to wrinkle it.”  She blushes, for she remembers that she and her Alfred mightily wrinkled their marriage bed in the short week when they were first married, before he headed to war.  Such was the loving passion shared between them.

Miss Tamsin: “But Mama, we must determine if he will like this mattress.”  Then she thinks a moment.  “And if the bed is long enough for him.  Afterall, Papa is quite tall.”  She tilts her head looking over at her father, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby.  Then she pats the bed to her left. “Come Mama.”  And then she pats the bed to her right.  “Come Papa.”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby and Lady Constance exchange bemused glances toward each other, across the bed where their daughter lies down the middle.  And he realizes that they will have no need for a chaperone while he courts Lady Constance—that their daughter Tamsin will insert herself into that role.  Rather, his and Lady Constance’s difficulty will likely involve finding ways to spend time alone, together, in order to get to know each other better.

Then Miss Tamsin reiterates her invitation by looking at her Mama Lady Constance and patting the bed side to her left, then looking at her Papa and patting the bed side to her right.  So there is nothing for it, but for Miss Tamsin’s parents to lie down on opposite sides of her—after first doffing her slippers and his boots.  Though in doing so, his silver handled dagger in its sheath slips deeper into his boot unseen.

Lady Constance:  “My!  This mattress is quite comfortable!”  Lady Constance muses.  She has noted and appreciates the attention to detail in the elegance and comfort of the Sussex Hall Manor House.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby:  “It is indeed–more so than my accommodations at my Parish of St. Timothy’s in London.”

Miss Tamsin: “Why do you live in a Church when you could live with us, Papa?”  She asks quizzically.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Because I was the Vicar there. And my need for lodgings was minimal—when I thought myself to be an unmarried man with no family.”  That statement seems to mollify his daughter, in the hope that she does not feel rejected by him with his long absence due to his amnesia due to his war injuries.

Lady Constance: “So no creature comforts there?”  Lady Constance teases, her thinking of him lying on a cot with slats being covered by a thin mattress, if any.  When her Alfred enjoyed the luxuries that his rank and privilege afforded him.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Sadly no.  Hhhh!”  He sighs for the ascetic and less complicated life that he will leave behind to take up with his new found life of privilege as the Lancashire ducal heir, and as a family man.

Lady Constance: “You will miss being a vicar, Alfred?”

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Some of it, yes—helping people.  It is…was my calling.”

Miss Tamsin: “But you can still help people and be with Mama and I, Papa.  Just in a different way.”  Sage words of wisdom, from his nine year old daughter.  “There are ever so many people at our family seat in Lancashire–and when we are visiting Uncle Lord Duncan in Yorkshire–who need aid.” Lady Constance smiles at her daughter’s compassion

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Oh?”  He smiles.  “And what is your assessment of their greatest needs, Miss Tamsin?”

Miss Tamsin: “Well, when Mama Lady Constance and I distribute the parish baskets to the poor or ill each week, I would say there are many.  For example, the Wright family in Lancashire—he makes wheels—have a thriving business that sustains them, but they live in cramped quarters above his work shop.  So the children have no where to run and play, nor do they go to school and they can’t read.  The oldest girl is my age, and I have been trying to teach her her letters and some words. But then when we travel to Yorkshire to stay with your ducal parents–now my other set of ducal grandparents—jobs are scarce, and with there being many widows left from the war with naught to live on, I do not know how they scrape by a living to feed themselves nor their children.”  She shakes her small red ringletted head in sorrow.  “So perhaps, your and our greatest challenges lie in Yorkshire.  The Yorks have been grieving for so long for you that they have not kept up with managing their estates and the surrounding villages.  Though Uncle Lord Duncan does his best to help out, their Graces have resisted making any changes.  And there is a vicar opening at their Yorkshire country seat, if you want to continue to be a vicar whilst you are also my Papa and the Marquess of Malten.”

For Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby to admit that his daughter Miss Tamsin has said a mouthful, would be to under emphasize her keen mind and acuity about the rightness of issues and circumstances related to her Papa.

Lady Constance: “Now Tammy Dear, it will be for your Papa Lord Alfred to decide what … projects he will undertake—and where we will live as a family.”  Lady Constance mentions this both to underscore that they are a family, and that she seeks her husband’s input in their future decisions.

Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “You would follow me, Constance?  Even if I wished to return to St. Timothy’s Parish in London, or to take up the Vicarship in Yorkshire with its cottage rectory, rather than live at York Castle?”  He turns to his side watching her response.

Lady Constance:  “Whether thou goest, we will go.  Whether though lodgest, we will lodge.”  She quotes solemnly and with heartfelt warmth from the Book of Ruth in the Bible.

A peaceful calm descends upon Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby about the rightness of him being reunited with his family—especially his own little family of himself, his wife, and their daughter.  And he smiles at Lady Constance, and she returns his warm smile.  Then his sister Lady Gwendolyn standing in the corner also smiles.

Then once changed and refreshed, they all go on to have a lovely family reunion dinner between the Yorks and the Lancashires.


After dinner, Lord Duncan excuses himself from Sussex Manor, for him to head down to the Sussex Hall Dower House where his love Lady Elizabeth Blount resides with her family, including her brother Lord Christian the Earl of Sussex.  Lord Duncan is long overdue for a chat with the young Earl—about Lord Duncan’s intentions and wishes with regard to him wooing and wedding Lady Elizabeth.

The Countess of Sussex Lady Madeline, the Dowager Countess Lady Catherine, and her granddaughter Lady Elizabeth are sipping their tea in the front parlor.  Whereas Lord Christian Earl of Sussex is playing Billiards by himself and sipping brandy from a rather large snifter.

Lord Duncan: “Christian, do not tell me that you drink alone?  Let alone, that you wager your billiards skills against yourself?”

Lord Christian: “Duncan!  I wondered if you would grace us with your presence yet again this fine night.”  He tosses a look toward the youngish Viscount of Lindsay.  “Ooh sorry!  I did not wish to bring up a sore subject, now that you are no longer the ducal heir.”

Lord Duncan: “Is that what your seeming reluctance is about Lady Elizabeth and I courting and marrying?  That she will no longer be a Duchess in waiting, but she will merely be a Viscountess?”

Lord Christian: “Not at all.  My concern stems from your so quickly attaching yourself to my sister Lady Elizabeth—possibly as a means to previously extract yourself from your ducal parents’ expectations that you would marry Lady Constance Knightsbridge.  Is your affection for my sister real and long lasting?”

Lord Duncan: “Of course!  Lady Elizabeth is a delight—poised, graceful, and charming!  And we have formed a sincere attachment for each other.”  And with Lord Duncan being her first kiss, he intends to make certain that he is the only man to kiss her throughout her lifetime.

Lord Christian ponders Lord Duncan’s avowals for a few moments whilst he sets up his next shot—which lands his ball in the pocket, as he intended.

Lord Christian:  “Very well.  I will allow you to court my sister Lady Elizabeth for the following month during your stay up at our Sussex Hall Manor House whilst your York Castle roof is being repaired.  Then we will revisit your request to propose marriage—if each of you still feels affection for each other.”

Lord Duncan: “I guess that is the best outcome that Lady Elizabeth and I could hope for.” He nods his head.  For he is determined that by the end of Summer, Lady Elizabeth will be his wife.

Then the two gentlemen join the ladies in the Sussex Hall Dower House front parlor.  Lady Elizabeth rises gracefully and glides across the room to her brother Lord Christian and her beloved Lord Duncan [(5) below] who has a small smile upon his face, even if Lord Christian does not.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Why do you looks so grave, Christy?  You did not refuse Lord Duncan, did you?”  She blanches.

Lord Christian: “No, My Dear Elizabeth.  But I wish to set some ground rules.”

Lord Duncan: “Ground rules?  This is something new.”

Lord Christian: “Not entirely.  First, I will allow Lord Duncan to court you for the next four weeks to see if you seem well suited to each other.  Marriage is for life and I will not see you enter into marriage for any reason other than love.”  He glances over to his seated wife and Countess Lady Madeline and smiles tenderly at her, which she returns in kind.  “Second, during your courtship you will be well chaperoned with your ladies maid Hildy or one of us—no sneaking off to the hidden part of the garden terrace for kissing trysts.”

Lady Elizabeth pouts, thinking that she and Lord Duncan will have to find a new secluded kissing place.  Whereas, Lord Duncan blushes crimson to have been caught kissing his hoped for betrothed, Lady Elizabeth.

Lord Duncan: “How …?”

Lord Christian: “The hidden part of the garden terrace is directly below Lady Madeline’s and my bed chamber’s sitting room bay window.”  Then Lord Christian raises a quelling eye brow, even as he glowers at the blanching Lord Duncan.

Lady Elizabeth: “And what is your third rule, Christy?  Everything always comes in threes.”  She whines.

Lord Christian: “And thirdly, …” He pauses for effect, using his most serious elder brother gaze upon them—mostly because he had not thought of a third rule. Yet his young wife comes to his rescue.

Lady Madeline: “Thirdly, you will be discreet in your dealings with each other when in the company of others beyond family, such that no one knows that you are courting.  In that way, if you decide not to become engaged nor to marry, Lady Elizabeth’s reputation will not be harmed by a broken courtship.”  The blame unfairly resides with ladies who break off engagements, much more so than with the men, unfortunately.

Lady Elizabeth [(6) below] and Lord Duncan lightly hold their gloved hands and gaze upon each other for several soulful moments.  Then they each nod to Lord Christian.

Lord Duncan: “We accept, Lord Christian.  And Lady Elizabeth and I thank you for your permission in our getting to know each other better, in order to explore whether our futures are to align with each other—as we hope.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Yes, we do, Christy.”

Lord Christian: “Well then.”  He smiles broadly.  “Let us all enjoy some wine to toast your getting to know each other better.”  Their nearby footman brings in a decanter of wine with crystal goblets for everyone—except Lady Madeline prefers water.

Tomorrow will bring new possibilities for the Sussex Hall estates two known courting couples of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby—with their daughter Miss Tamsin—as well as, for Lady Elizabeth and Lord Duncan.  Let the courting begin!

To be continued with Chapter 21


Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 20 images  for  May 12, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1235)

1)  “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at ; the text font  is Vivaldi.×401-300res-rev3.jpg

2)   Lord Christian Blount is Richard Armitage as John Thornton in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at

3) LadyMadeline-in-pale-organza-dress-isKateWinslet-inTitanic_Oct0616viaPinterest_Grati-crop

4) Lady Constance Knightsbridge (is Margaret Clunie) and  Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred Lindsay (is David Oakes) in the garden is from Victoria; image found at the Sydney Morning Herald for December 16, 2017

5) Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay wearing a Waterfall cravat image is of Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Frederick Wentworth in “Persuasion” found at Pinterest at

6) Lady Elizabeth in-ice-blue-with-lace-overlay evening gown-is Jessica Brown Findlay-asLadySybil-inDA_Oct1116viaExpressCoUK

was found  at


“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 20  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for May 12, 2019 (Post #1235):

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 19 story URL on my SAL blog Post #1232,  May 05,  2019:

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blessings for Baby Boy Sussex Birth, May10, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1234)

It’s a Royal baby Sussex boy!  Blessings!


And the newly increased happy family shares their joy!  Blessings again!

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R), and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 8, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)





Posted in Baby, Blessings, British, British Royal Family, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment